On the morning of May 3rd, a group of University of Arizona (UA) students and supporters disrupted UA Professor and Tucson Unified School DistrictTUSD Board President Mark Stegeman's lecture course in a drastic move to draw attention to the TUSD Board's fateful vote on Ethnic Studies which was scheduled for a vote on the evening of May 3rd, led by Stegeman. The meeting ended with no official vote from the board. Ptrotestors at the meeting were arrested.
Stegeman's divisive resolution aims to turn Mexican American Studies (MAS) into an elective, complying with the state's Ethnic Studies ban and effectively ending the program as a core class for students. Coinciding with their action in Stegeman's class, the group received a solidarity statement by a member of a University of California (UC) student group, which led a similar action last year on the issue of Palestinian rights and which is currently being prosecuted by the Orange County District Attorney on public disruption and conspiracy charges.
In a dramatic demonstration of solidarity with high school students whose education will be directly affected by the vote, the group of UA students and supporters -- acting individually with no organization affiliation -- furtively entered Stegeman's 400-undergraduate lecture course on "Basic Economics Issues" in Harvill Building Rm. 150, and one-by-one stood up during his lecture to ask him critical questions and to inform and engage his students about Ethnic Studies and Stegeman's role in facilitating its removal from Tucson schools. Stegeman evaded any questioning.
Before the class hundreds of Stegeman's students were given information flyers which ran the headline, “Why Is Your Professor Trying to Dismantle Ethnic Studies?” Answering the question, the flyer provided background information and context of the Ethnic Studies ban, outlined Stegeman's role, and urged his students to “[t]ell Dr. Stegeman that UofA students stand in solidarity with Tucson high school students. Tell him you oppose his disingenuous attempt to destroy ethnic studies.” At the same time, the flyers displayed a profile photo of Stegeman with the gingerly caption, “Don't Trust Me.” The flyer also urged students to join the youth-led effort directed at May 3rd Board Meeting at the TUSD administrative offices.
The action culminated when one of the organizers of the action, Mathew Johnson, stridently declared that Stegeman's course “is now an elective,” informing the rest of the class they were free to stay but would not receive credit. Around
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